The Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan is known for being the first European to lead an expedition across the Pacific Ocean, and was the leader of the first successful attempt to circumnavigate the Earth, but ironically he didn’t actually complete this voyage himself, as he was killed in the Philippines during the journey! He had previously attempted such a voyage, and thus when you add up his travels, he was the first explorer to cross all the meridians of the Earth.
This background should help give a bit of insight into the navigation company that uses the explorer’s name, and now Magellan (the company) is rolling out the Magellan RoadMate for the iPhone, which offers turn-by-turn navigation for the iPhone 3G and 3GS, running the OS 3.0 software.
This application is now available for $79.99, and coming this holiday will offer a Premium Car Kit that includes charging capabilities and a cradle with amplified speaker, which is Bluetooth headset enabled. This car will be available in December for $129.99.
While it would be easy to dismiss spending such money on the apps, given the number of free or extremely low-priced apps, as well as alternatives such as Google Maps, Magellan is clearly taking a path of rivals such as TomTom, offering the key functionality of their respective GPS devices.
And here is the point. While a few weeks back I had the chance to put GPS devices to a test with app software on mobile smartphones, the point is that it isn’t so much the plastic casing that matters, but rather the software. Thus Magellan, as well as TomTom and others, are pushing their business models to address the greater functionality offered by smartphones such as the BlackBerry, and in this case the iPhone.
In the case of the Magellan RoadMate, it features functionality that is based on its own standalone devices, offering options such as spoken street name guidance, 6 million points of interest, and it comes preloaded with maps of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, powered by NAVTEQ. Users are also given options to choice their route, including alternative routes that might avoid freeways, or offer the shortest distance. So while there are plenty of mapping solutions out there, these GPS apps from GPS device makers so far are going the extra distance, and unlike the explorer Magellan, seem to make the whole journey.
It will be interesting to see how other app makers follow suit. After all, being the first trailer blazer is always the hardest part.
Asia-Pacific Travelers Look to Use Mobile to Check Flight Information
A new study was released this week from travel services provider Sabre Travel Network, which found that 51 percent of Asia-Pacific travelers would use their mobile devices to check in for flights when possible, and 46 percent would use a handset to select or change seats. About 40 percent said they’d use the devices when flights were canceled, and not just to call and speak to a person but instead use it through the mobile WAP or via apps.